Colorado went toe-to-toe with No. 4 UCLA through much of the first half, and trailed by just five points at halftime, but then Bryce Alford got hot.
Alford made three shots from beyond-the-arc in the first three minutes of the second half, and he finished the game with 37 points. Isaac Hamilton added 20 points for the Bruins, and freshman phenom Lonzo Ball dished out eight assists as UCLA cruised to a 104-89 victory over the Buffaloes on Thursday night.
“My hat goes off to UCLA,” Buffs head coach Tad Boyle said. “I have been here for seven years and every time I am in here after a loss, I am pointing the finger at either myself or talking about what we didn't do. Tonight it was about what UCLA did. There are times in life where you have to tip your hat to your opponent. They deserved to win.”
It was the first time Colorado gave up 100 points since a road game at Texas little more than seven years ago, on Jan. 9, 2010, when Jeff Bzdelik was in his final season as the Buffs' head coach. And it was the first time CU allowed an opponent to reach the century mark in scoring at the Coors Events Center since 2007 when Kevin Durant made his only trip to Boulder.
UCLA leads the conference in scoring this season, and the Bruins have the nation's most efficient offense.
“They are as good an offensive team as I have coached against at the collegiate level in 23 years," Boyle said. "They are very, very difficult to guard, both in transition and in half court. One of the things we talked about in the locker room was hopefully we can learn from them in terms of how they move the ball, how they move without the ball, how they screen."
Xavier Johnson had 21 points for the Buffaloes, who have dropped four straight to open conference play for the first time since 2008-09 when they were in the Big 12. Derrick White scored 20 points, Wesley Gordon added 12 and freshman Bryce Peters scored a season-high 11 points off the bench for Colorado.
“We have definitely lost some swagger,” Boyle said of his team's disappointing start to conference play. “It is hard to have swagger when you are 0-4 but you can't lose your heart, you can't lose your determination, you can't lose your fight. And we haven't lost that, I promise you. But we may have been humbled. This conference is no joke and winning isn't easy. … We are getting better. It is not showing up in the win column and it is time for that to happen.””
The Buffaloes will attempt to notch their first conference win on Sunday evening when No. 25 USC comes to town. The Trojans lost by 22 points at Utah on Thursday night.